More delays for the Dodgy Socialist Dam

The dodgy socialist dam has some more delays ahead of the report into whether or not the council wants to go ahead.

They have missed every single milestone, and now some more milestones have been put in place.

Conditions the Ruataniwha Dam must meet before receiving an $80 million ratepayer-funded investment could change, just a week before the scheme’s future is decided.

Tomorrow the next steps in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme (RWSS) will be discussed at a Hawke’s Bay Regional Council corporate and strategic committee meeting, with members recommended to include a new condition precedent before council invests, and alter an existing condition.   

There are currently four conditions precedent. Last July the council voted that three of these had been met – authorising a draw-down of $80m, less development costs, for investment in the scheme.


The two new and altered conditions relate to the two elements of risk councillors expressed most concern about – the financial and environmental elements.

One is to sell more water

The condition precedent that 40 million cubic metres be sold has already been met.

However as part of the review the council’s investment arm, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC), and the review’s principal financial adviser, John Palairet, recommended this be increased.

Mr Palmer wrote that “a revised uptake figure is expected to increase confidence in the RWSS generating sufficient cash flows to meet the return requirements of capital providers and accelerate the arrival of returns to HBRC”.

So the committee will tomorrow be asked to agree to modify this condition up to 50 million cubic metres.

They had to jimmy the figures to meet the original target, and they only achieved it by getting smaller councils to agree to buy their own water…at a higher price than they are paying now.

The second new condition is going to be far harder to achieve.

With several environmental risks outlined in the review, the committee is also recommended to introduce a new condition precedent that investment would be subject to further review of the scheme’s existing environmental management package.

This would include approaches to managing nitrogen under such farm plans, and flushing flows, and that any changes to this management package meet the council’s satisfaction two months before financial close.

They will never achieve that. They are already at the nutrient headroom, and often over it. They can never achieve this with the dam plan, it will only make matters worse…their own reports show this.

The dam is rooted, and it is only a matter of time before the plug is pulled.

You know it is doomed because there are no institutional investors willing to have a punt on a heroic and impossible business plan.


-NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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